UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

The stigma associated with bereavement by suicide and other sudden deaths: A qualitative interview study

Pitman, AL; Stevenson, F; Osborn, DPJ; King, MB; (2018) The stigma associated with bereavement by suicide and other sudden deaths: A qualitative interview study. Social Science & Medicine , 198 pp. 121-129. 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.12.035. Green open access

[thumbnail of 1-s2.0-S0277953617307797-main.pdf]
Preview
Text
1-s2.0-S0277953617307797-main.pdf - Published Version

Download (264kB) | Preview

Abstract

Quantitative studies have found that suicide bereavement is associated with suicide attempt, and is perceived as the most stigmatising of sudden losses. Their findings also suggest that perceived stigma may explain the excess suicidality. There is a need to understand the nature of this stigma and address suicide risk in this group. We aimed to describe and compare the nature of the experiences of stigma reported by people bereaved by suicide, sudden unnatural death, and sudden natural death, and identify any commonalities and unique experiences. We conducted a population-based cross-sectional survey of 659,572 staff and students at 37 British higher educational institutions in 2010, inviting those aged 18-40 who had experienced sudden bereavement of a close contact since the age of 10 to take part in an on-line survey and to volunteer for an interview to discuss their experiences. We used maximum variation sampling from 1398 volunteer interviewees to capture a range of experiences, and conducted individual face-to-face semi-structured interviews to explore perceptions of stigma and support. We continued sampling until no new themes were forthcoming, reaching saturation at n = 27 interviews (11 participants bereaved by suicide). We employed thematic analysis to identify any distinct dimensions of reported stigma, and any commonalities across the three groups. We identified two key themes: specific negative attitudes of others, and social awkwardness. Both themes were common to interviewees bereaved by suicide, sudden unnatural death, and sudden natural death. All interviewees reported the experience of stigmatising social awkwardness, but this may have been experienced more acutely by those bereaved by suicide due to self-stigma. This study provides evidence of a persistent death taboo in relation to sudden deaths. There is potential for anti-stigma interventions to reduce the isolation and social awkwardness perceived by people bereaved suddenly, particularly after suicide loss.

Type: Article
Title: The stigma associated with bereavement by suicide and other sudden deaths: A qualitative interview study
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.12.035
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.12.035
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY/4.0/).
Keywords: Bereavement, Grief, Social support, Stigma, Suicide, Taboo, United Kingdom
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Primary Care and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10041662
Downloads since deposit
162Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item